Judging a book by its cover doesn’t always work, and the same can be said for videogames and their titles. Games like the original Call of Duty and, a more modern example, Renegade Ops have proven that generic titles can be misleading. Special Forces: Team X has an extremely generic title but unlike the aforementioned games it does little to set itself apart from the pack. SFTX is a cover-based multiplayer shooter that has a cel-shaded look as well as some interesting ideas.
Loading up SFTX for the first time, the graphics will obviously be the first thing to make an impact on any gamer. The game has a cel-shaded graphical style to it that certainly makes it stand out but does little to impress. Cel-shading was a very fun and novel idea a few years ago but it has to be done in a certain way to make it memorable. SFTX has the look but it just doesn’t sit well like Windwaker or XIII. This isn’t to say that the game looks bad, it just seems bland.
Gameplay in SFTX follows the standard multiplayer-only completive format. There are multiple gameplay styles such as team deathmatch, capture the flag, and a control points mode. There are some deviations from the norm including the High Value Target mode that makes one player a VIP of sorts whose kills and deaths earn their team more points than normal. Games run until a score, typically 750, is reached and that often takes about ten minutes. Yes, you read that right, ten minutes. SFTX is a very fast paced game and not just in terms of the gameplay. While much of the matches are spent running full sprint from cover to cover and shooting in a fast paced spread of bullets; matches themselves are extremely quick to the finish. Often times I felt that a match should last five or ten minutes more just to keep the fun going.
Cover-based shooters are fairly standard in today’s market and SFTX takes that formula and copies the good. Sadly, some of the bad comes with it. While the third-person shooting is fine and the cover system works well there are often issues with collision. Many times per match I would be running through a building and get caught on a door or wall for a second until I turned my player. It’s an unfortunate problem that really takes away from the speed of the game.
Cover becomes an issue in the game only when you realize that if you’re not behind cover you will die. Similar shooters require you to take cover but in SFTX it felt like if I were running out in the open one second I’d be dead the next. I suppose this is to make it more realistic and military-like, which I respect, and I’d suppose that’s the same reasoning behind the guns. All of the guns in SFTX are the usual spread of military guns and with each level comes new toys.
SFTX uses a level-up system to encourage players to play well and play together. Typical things like kills and captures go towards your score but atypical actions like sticking near teammates also keep your score rising. At the end of each match your score gets put into your experience bar and the levels go up and up. With each new level you’re rewarded with new guns, clothes, and taunts. These types of unlock systems work well when the rewards are crazy-almost-fake guns and technology but the rewards in SFTX are never crazy. You'll unlock sniper rifles, assault rifles, new perks, grenades and that’s about it. It’s certainly a lackluster offering that misses an opportunity to play off the fun look of the game.
Multiplayer only games immediately set standards with the lack of a singleplayer mode. These standards include stable servers and a large multiplayer audience to play the game with as well. Both of these things are lacking in SFTX making them the game’s biggest issues over all. Finding a match can be difficult at times, especially if you’re not playing during primetime, as servers seem empty nearly all day. Even when you do get into a game there can be some server lag issues that result in glitching and problems in-game.
Special Forces: Team X is a multiplayer only cover-based shooter. That sentence is about generic as it gets and the same can be said about the game itself. The look of the game does little to set it game apart from any other cel-shaded shooter. The controls are fine but issues with the geometry and server issues keep the game from playing well and even when it does, you’ll be hard pressed to find people to play with. SFTX is just another in a laundry list of games trying to capitalize on the success of cover-based shooters but promptly fail to do so.